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literary and critical proofs of truth and fidelity afforded by the narratives themselves. It is the power which resides in those narratives to call up divine conceptions in our own souls that is the true internal evidence of Christianity. It claims to be from God, and it proves the claim by drawing the mind of man into more immediate communication with the mind of God. It is a divine Instrument for placing the soul in harmony with God, through spiritual sympathies with him who is the Mediator, the Son of God and the Son of Man. In that “power of God unto Salvation" resides the divinest Authentication, the self-evidence of the Gospel of Christ. “ I am not ashamed,” says the great Apostle, “ of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto Salvation, for therein the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” Now Miracles are not matters of Faith but of Testimony. They become matters of Faith only when accepted for the sake of, and as consonant with, the moral and spiritual Revelation.
* Notwithstanding the general ability, and despite the painful crudity of the introduction, the frequent beauty and truth of feeling displayed in Mr. Harwood's Lecture, we are constrained to say that, like Mr. Wood's, it contributes nothing to the argument,—and whatever it may do “ to open," it has done nothing “ to close” this great question. There are certain crying evils in the religious world, of dogmatism, bigotry, materialism, finality, which Mr. Harwood thinks would be abated by the absence of a Miraculous and authoritative Revelation-and the conclusion arrived at is, that there is no Miraculous and authoritative Revelation. Now this is very unsatisfactory Logic. Mr. Harwood might prove Atheism by the same process of reasoning. It would effectually abate all bigotry, cant, fanaticism, persecution. This is to get rid of religious evils, by getting rid of Religion. The question of Miracles is a question of facts; not a question to be determined by asking what good do we get from them, or with what evils do they happen to be allied.
The one argument which Mr. Harwood brings against the Gospel Miracles is this, “ that they attest the Hebrew Messiahship of Jesus,-are the witnesses of Providence that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ of Isaiah and Ezekiel : that is to sayand here is the difficulty—the Gospel miracles attest that as true which turned out not to be true, which we now know was not true.” This is an arbitrary assertion, and we recognize only the signs of arbitrariness in the argumentum ad verecundiam, “ that it is one of the plainest and most easily proved negations in all history and literature, to any man who will fairly and freely look at it as a matter of historical fact and literary interpretation.” Even the least dogmatical divines have a sad habit of appropriating to themselves all inquiries pursued “ fairly and freely,'—and of judging of the “ fairness and freedom” by the final agreement or non-agreement with themselves. We do not deny the traces in the three first Gospels of the Messianic conceptions. But is Mr. Harwood a believer in plenary inspiration, that he should regard them as exhibiting Christ's mind through what Lord Bacon calls “ dry and pure light,”—and attribute nothing of the Jewish colouring to the Medium ? There are the distinctest announcements in the three first Gospels by Christ himself that he was both the Messiah of the Jews, and the Saviour of the World. As well might Mr. Harwood deny that Christ foretold his own resurrection because the Evangelists did not understand him, and related their impressions historically,—not correcting them by the after events, nor reflecting upon them the light of a later knowledge. The Evangelists narrate each step just as it happened,—and they were Jews in their views of the Messiah, until after the day of Pentecost. The narrative of the Gospels does not include the time when the disciples ceased to believe in a Hebrew Messiah, -and like true narrators, they never confuse our perception of the historical development of their ideas, by exhibiting events in cross lights. They follow the order of time, and tell us what they were, and what they thought, and what they passed through, at each successive moment. And if this does not apply to the Gospel of St. John, it is because his Gospel was written rather for a doctrinal than an historical purpose. We must here enter our protest against a very common practice, viz., to deny the inspiration of the Gospels, and at the same time to build up hypotheses on verbal grounds, to try and test Christianity by a principle to which, except on the supposition of plenary inspiration, it is not amenable.
We agree with Mr. Harwood, that the question put to God by Christ on the day of the crucifixion, was not the question of immortality, but the question of Messiahship; and we believe, in which we differ from Mr. Harwood, that on the third day God glorified his Son, and showed him to be “both Lord and Christ.” Wherein is it inconsistent with reason, or analogy, or “ the spirit of the prophets which is the testimony of Jesus,” that out of the Jewish Messiah, the fullness and completion of the preparatory dispensation, God should develop his universal gift, the predestinated Saviour of the World ?
We shall now, apart from this controversy, briefly state our views of the relation of miracles to Christianity, and of the sentiment with which we should regard those whose soul accepts the
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Christ as divine and sent by God, but whose peculiar mental constitution is not impressed by the miraculous,- and who believe because of the spiritual or self-evidence. We have necessarily anticipated, and in our observations upon the views of others partially given our own; but it is a subject which, better than most others, will bear something of repetition. There is perhaps no theological point on which more confusion of thought prevails, than the present position of Miracles in relation to Christianity, and their logical value as evidence.
The reason once given by Christ for not working miracles, has a very decided bearing upon this controversy. “He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” On the common view, miracles are regarded as instruments for the production of faith, external proofs directed against unbelief-and on this view one would expect them to abound wherever belief required to be excited—that the rule would be, 'the less faith, the more miracle. Certainly, if miracles are the proper foundations of faith, it is a very extraordinary and infelicitous conjunction," he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” On the common view, the connection here indicated between a want of faith, and the withholding of miracles, the supposed producers of faith, has no suitableness. The absence of the faith ought to have been the most imperative reason for the presence of the miracle. But so thought not Jesus: and this may naturally excite a doubt whether we do not assign to miracles a wrong position in the temple of revelation. We make them lie at the foundation. We talk of them as fundamentals; as the only conceivable proofs of a truth announced, or a messenger sent by God. We make them essential to the very idea of a Christian. We say that a man cannot be a Christian except by a belief in miracles. Yet Christ reversed all this. He not only held faith to be independent of miracles, but he required faith as a previous condition before he would work a miracle. With him, instead of faith being occasioned by miracles—miracles were occasioned by faith. Nor is the text already cited by any means a solitary passage. It contains the spirit of his views on this subject. “An evil and adulterous generation seeket!, after a sign." “ Ye will not believe except ye see signs and wonders.” “ Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed.” “ Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and follow me.” It is evident that the faith which could only be excited by miracles Jesus regarded as coarse, material, unspiritual; and that faith, to be genuine and operative, must have its origin in moral sympathy and appreciation of his truth. They in whose hearts his words raised echoes, who seized and understood his character by a kindred sentiment—they alone believed in spirit and in truth, and the foundation of their belief was not miracle, but moral affinities. They felt, they sympathized, they appreciated—and therefore believed. “No man can come unto me," says Jesus, “ except my Father who hath sent me draw him.” What can this mean, except that to come unto him men must feel some attraction towards him—that this attraction must consist in moral similarity, the only attraction that brings hearts and characters together—and that where there was a spirit totally opposite to his own, no mere miracle could attract it towards himit must be morally and sympathetically repelled ? Belief and Unbelief are nothing else than Attraction and Repulsion. Sensibility to moral beauty is the true spring of faith : those on whose sentiments the goodness of Jesus impressed itself, whose sympathies took fire and glowed, would of course be attracted, love, believe, and follow-and all others would feel no bond with him, and a miracle could not change their hearts and give them moral affinities that belonged not to their characters. Certain it is that admiration and appreciation for a character always requires some similarity to it in ourselves : we must sympathize with it before we love it. Affinity is the origin of faith; the spiritual ligament which connects our souls with purer beings and brighter worlds, with Jesus, with Heaven, with God. Destroy that moral sympathy, and you make the heart inaccessible to religion, to that world of ideal perfection, to which Conscience betakes itself to gaze on excellence, and become penetrated with the ideas of goodness and God.
That miracles are not the proper foundations of faith, we think the unbelief of the Jews proves conclusively. Their case is a signal instance of the truth, that a mental bias is utterly inaccessible to a merely external instrument—that with a cluster of wrong ideas in the mind, no miracle could withdraw it from its previous modes of thinking, and import into it a correct faith. They might not be able to deny the miracle—but what of that? Would a miracle, if performed before our eyes, alter all our previous impressions—would it destroy all our habitual associations—would it revolutionize our moral sympathies, and turn us out of all our past modes of feeling, hoping, thinking? We must know very little of our own minds if we are inclined to ascribe to a miracle any such power. It would leave the moral affinities of our characters precisely as it found them. Our spiritual tastes, our favourite expectations, our peculiar biassesthe direction of our desires, the kind of ideas which our nature and habits had familiarized us with, would all remain unchanged. A miracle would not touch these. A miracle is the setting aside
of a physical Law: there is surely 'no reason why the eye-witness of a miracle should instantly become changed in character and heart. He would certainly believe in the power of him who wrought the miracle to produce such an effect, but would that give him any new moral sympathies with his character, would it attach him to it by spiritual affinities-would it make him love and appreciate qualities of life and heart towards which he had felt no attraction before-would it in a word give him that harmony of spirit without which there can be no religious faith? A belief in supernatural power is a very different thing from faith, in a religious sense, which always implies a spiritual connection, a synı pathetic drawing of the mind-but it is only belief of the former kind, an acknowledgment of physical power, which would be produced even in an eye-witness of a miracle. The Jews were witnesses of Christ's miracles—but the leaning of their moral nature towards him, the bias of their tempers, expectations, spiritual affections, was nothing more after the miracle than before it. They still looked for a Messiah in the direction of their past habits—their old associations remainedthe miracle was wrought upon external nature, not upon their minds-it did not do them such violence as to enter within them, destroy their characters, and alter the whole cast and colour of their sympathies. Such a miracle indeed might create faith—but only by annihilating our identity and our will. When then we transport ourselves to a time in which the belief of supernatural agency was not uncommon, and amid a people the direction of whose sympathies in their expectation of a Messiah was most alien from Jesus, we have little difficulty in explaining from the principles of human nature how it was that miracles wrought no effect upon their faith-that, to use his own phrase, they could not come to him” because there was nothing kindred within to draw them towards him. The explanation is sound : but whoever receives it is thereby admitting that miracles are not the proper foundations of faith. • We know it may be said, by that kind of subtlety which perplexes but always misses the true point of a question, that miracles are the proper foundations of faith, and would have produced their effect as such even with the Jews, had it not been for an accidental superstition of their's, which familiarized them with the miraculous, and rendered them impervious to the argument derived from supernatural works. Now we answer, that the existence of this superstition is the very thing which shows that miracles cannot be the true foundations of faith: for how can that be a right foundation on which, though it is admitted, nothing need be built-and which a low credulity can vulgarize